Rest in peace Don Luis, the "Old Violin Man" of southeast Houston.
Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion By Robert Gordon 384 pp. $30 Bloomsbury It's a story that any novelist or screenwriter would find fantastical. A white, middle-aged banker and part time country music fiddler with a hankering to get into the music business convinces his older ... More >>
See Also: "Support Staff: 10 of Pop History's Greatest Backing Bands" Donald "Duck" Dunn, the bassist for Memphis soul band Booker T & the MGs - the house band at seminal '60s Stax Records - passed away in his sleep early Sunday morning, according to his friend and longtime bandmate Steve Cropper. ... More >>
It's always reassuring to know that some things never change - like Houston concert audiences' loutish reputation. "Houston is notorious for its knuckleheads," says Lucero lead guitarist Brian Venable, who doesn't seem to hold a grudge. If there were any doubt that the Memphis alt.country rockers ... More >>
Being behind the scenes is what most musicians who don't write songs or sing expect of their lives once they start seriously playing. A career backing someone up can be extremely rewarding, particularly if you are part of a transcendent group of musicians that goes from simply backing up an artist i ... More >>
Photos by Brett KoshkinNew Orleans' Ponderosa Festival thrives on 45s.Maybe it's age or my ever-increasing tailspin of stagnating taste, but I just don't find music festivals palatable in the slightest these days. Multi-day romps to summertime smorgasboards is for the birds. No matter if it t ... More >>
Photos by Jason WolterFitz & the Tantrums House of Blues Bronze Peacock Room April 18, 2011 Soul music is about power, yoking that gospel id to the pursuit of more worldly affairs, but it's also about subtlety. Grunt all you want, but smooth and steady wins the race (and wins over the ladies ... More >>
Photos by Marc BrubakerThe Black Keys Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion September 20, 2010 "Howlin' at midnight, winter creepin' in/ Feel like I've gone and lost my best friend" - Lucinda Williams, "Howlin' At Midnight" Did you see the moon Wednesday night? The "Super Harvest Moon" that, acco ... More >>
Hollywood Shuffle got word Thursday that Blues Brother and Saturday Night Live alumnus Dan Aykroyd will be at the downtown Spec's this afternoon from 3-7 p.m. to sign bottles of his new vodka, Conehead Crystal Head. Aykroyd is in town to act as Grand Marshal for Saturday's Art Car Parade. Sat ... More >>
Britain's The Big Pink fuses soul, drum machines and shoegaze on A Brief History of Love.
How good a musician is Booker T? Along with the rest of the MGs, the house band of seminal soul imprint Stax who had several instrumental hits of their own besides backing Stax's powerhouse roster (Rufus Thomas, Albert King, Sam & Dave, Otis Redding...) throughout the '60s, the Memphis-born m ... More >>
She Said has always been a fan of Stax Records, the gritty Southern label started by a white brother-sister team in a movie theater in Memphis. Something about Stax' organic sound and integrated musical influences (this is the same city that gave us Sun Records) had always felt so raw and real. ... More >>
Houston throwback singer Leela James does it again.
The Sonics, "Psycho a Go-Go" Another week goes by, with yet gigantic list of SXSW performers coming to Austin in March. The final list comes out January 30, so be prepared for maximum bloggage. We're still crossing our fingers and polishing up the nondescript white van in the hopes that Katy Perry ... More >>
Ah, that nasty Grim Reaper took a lot of great musicians this year, and his scythe cut a wide swath across all genres, including many heavyweights in the blues and R&B world. The greatest loss comes in the form of someone who was a man, a song, and a beat all in one... Bo Diddley, singer-songw ... More >>
Nicholas Tremulis with Robbie Fulks, "Mystery Train" Some killer records have recently fallen through Lonesome Onry and Mean's cracks, either due to a lack of space in the paper or LOM having just found the CDs under the seat of his truck. Yeah, stuff happens. The Nicholas Tremulis Orchestra's Pin ... More >>
The twisted history of "Tighten Up"
The year in review
Justin Timberlake leads the charge of new melanin-challenged soul brothers
Folk-rock space boy Todd Snider awakes to find a career on the upswing